The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Tuesday issued a cold weather alert for mountain areas due to wind chill temperatures expected to dip below 32 degrees Wednesday through Friday.
“Children, the elderly and people with disabilities or special medical needs are especially vulnerable during cold weather. Extra precaution should be taken to ensure they don’t get too cold when they are outside,” said Dr. Muntu Davis, the county’s health officer. “There are places where people can go to stay warm, such as shelters or other public facilities. We also want to remind people not to use stoves, barbecues or ovens to heat their homes due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.”
People exposed to cold weather for prolonged periods can lose body heat and develop hypothermia. Symptoms vary depending on how long a person is exposed to cold temperatures. Early symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, fatigue, loss of coordination, and confusion and disorientation. Late symptoms of hypothermia include no shivering, blue skin, dilated pupils, slowed pulse and breathing and loss of consciousness.
The department urged people to take the following precautions to protect themselves from the cold:
— dress in layers of warm clothing if you plan to be outdoors;
— protect head, hands and feet from the cold by wearing a hat, scarf, gloves and socks;
— check frequently on and help family members, friends and neighbors with limited mobility and limited access to heat, such as seniors or those who are ill;
— if you have pets, bring them indoors and do not leave them outside overnight;
— take shelter during peak cold times; and
— if you don’t have a heater in your home, visit indoor public facilities such as shopping malls, libraries or senior centers.
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority has a Winter Shelter Program available. Locations and transportation information are online at www.lahsa.org/winter-shelter or by calling 211. For the deaf and hard-of-hearing, call the TDD line at (800) 660-4026.
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